THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“And he said, ‘Show me, pray, Your glory” Exodus 33:18
WE are barely out of Egypt before experiencing our first major fall-out with God. Moses departs for forty days and nights only to be thrown out of God’s mountain-top “office”, instructed to return to his people who have seriously transgressed.
They danced around, bowed before and offered sacrifices to a god out of gold which they had created. In their first instance of weakness, the people fell back on the familiar — idol worship.
God’s response is harsh, but there is a chance to grow from failure. Moses negotiates the forgiveness from God, and in a moment of grace, asks Him for something more. He asks God for a way in which He can be known.
God’s reply? You can know Me through My creations. God’s masterpiece was the universe He created. Like any artist whose identity can be discovered through their creativity, God can be similarly discovered. Artists do not develop products that are utilitarian, but ones that include elements of self-expression. The universe, God’s opus, was God’s response to Moses’s request to “show me Your ways”..
The matrix of creation, in all its interrelated detail, is how the shapeless, spiritual God expresses His identity to Moses and, ultimately, to all who wish to know Him.
The world is not arbitrarily assembled by God to nurture human life, nor merely a stage on which God interacts with humanity. Rather, the world is God’s personal expression, with every leaf expressing the nature of His being.
Every natural and scientific law reveals another dimension of God’s nature, and within each discovery we continue to discern more about the Power of Existence running through it.
Parashat Ki Tissa teaches that if we are to look for God, we look at His creation. Through the artwork, we come to know the artist. RABBI JOSEPH DWECK